Cruising the Seine


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An email from Silver Travel Advisor told me that I had been chosen as their guest blogger for the Autumn! My assignment covered a CroisiEurope river cruise which started and ended in Paris on the River Seine. The cruise was for two people and lasted for six days, all courtesy of CroisiEurope and Silver Travel Advisor!

MS France - CroisiEuropeAlthough we have travelled extensively in Europe over many years we had never tried a cruise holiday. We had seen huge sea going cruise liners spewing out hundreds of people on to various jetties on many occasions, particularly in the Mediterranean. Often there would be a convoy of coaches waiting to take the passengers to places they had been told they would enjoy! They seemed rarely able to “do their own thing.”

Our experience on a smaller cruiser operating on a European river was totally different. The vessel, MS France, built in 2001, was 110m long and carried a maximum of 159 passengers. We arrived a little early but were immediately made to feel welcome by two smiling and caring hostesses. As we boarded MS France we felt reassured that this was going to be a memorable and enjoyable cruise!

MS France - CroisiEuropeLanguages on board
The language spoken was French, but always followed by English and some Spanish professionally delivered by various members of staff.

The majority of passengers on board MS France were French, followed by British, Canadian, Americans, Spaniards and Germans.

Everyone seemed very friendly and although each nationality tended to keep together we all seemed to enjoy the sense of humour generated particularly during the entertainment and quizzes.

Veronica Bowerman cruising the SeineExcursions/free time
It was good to have a choice of an excursion or free time on most days. At no time was there any pressure on passengers to join these available excursions. It was possible to book the excursions at the time of booking the cruise at a discounted rate which a fair proportion of the passengers had done. However some preferred to wait until they were on board before making up their minds. Luckily there were always places available, but this might not have been so in the high season?

From the feedback we received most passengers enjoyed their chosen excursions.

Meal thoughts
The buffet breakfast was good. Both lunch and dinner were three course meals, well chosen and beautifully presented. However whilst the French are accustomed to a three course lunch we would have preferred the choice of a lighter alternative.

Overall we thought this to be an excellent holiday on a superb vessel with a caring efficient crew.

Apart from a few minor niggles this should not deter anyone from taking a cruise with CroisiEurope. It has not deterred us as we hope to take a similar cruise next year!

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Other Members' Thoughts - 9 Comment(s)

  • Veronica-Bowerman
    about 6 years ago
    Dear DRSask
    Many thanks for your feedback. I totally agree with your comments about using a French company in France. It certainly made our trip very enjoyable and was also a positive point for us.
    Like you, we aim to to practise our French as well when we have the opportunity. It can often open doors and provide better service. Even a very basic knowledge can provide a few appreciative smiles! As someone told me recently "Use it or lose it!"
    On the other side of the coin there are many tourists who prefer/feel more comfortable using their own language wherever they are.
    So what I am saying it's good to have a choice!
  • DRSask
    about 6 years ago
    The fact that the company is French and you are in France, would be a positive point for me in selecting between VRC and CroisiEurope. I would appreciate being able to practice my French! Thanks for providing this information as an alternative to VRC.
  • Veronica-Bowerman
    about 6 years ago
    Hi Su
    Many thanks for your feedback.
    Our river cruise was wonderful. so much so that we plan to take another - this time up the Rhine in 2015! I think we will, after this second planned cruise be echoing your sentiments "we love cruising!"
    Cruises are not cheap, but CroisiEurope do seem to offer quality if our Seine break was anything to go by. If you take into account that fact plus full board and unlimited drinks - non alcoholic and alcoholic - it is not overly expensive.
    Some of the people on board had used another company for the cruise to include getting from home to the river and back again. However the trip cost them quite a bit more because of this additional service.
    Like you, we find half the fun is doing our research and in the process seeing many unique things. How did we manage before the internet?
    When we went on this cruise we flew from our local Airport into Charles de Gaulle, Paris, took the train and tube to Bercy Village, a really interesting suburb of Paris where we stayed the night before spending the day in central Paris en route to our cruise.
    I hope the other comments I have just submitted will also be of interest to you?

  • Veronica-Bowerman
    about 6 years ago
    Hi Shirley
    Thank you for your feedback. It appears that Viking are going for the British and American markets for their clientele, possibly because its HQ is in the USA? CroisiEurope is a French owned company, who in my opinion, offer an excellent service to all nationalities. All messages on board were initially delivered in French but then immediately followed by a clear and concise English translation. There did not appear to be a communication problem for any of the passengers on board the Seine cruise.
    The waiter service was excellent. The breakfast was a buffet one with a huge range of delights, including many healthy options, in which to indulge. Coffee was always hot and waiting for you on your table. There was of course alternative beverages. Waiting staff were always on hand at breakfast to ensure that you had the food you wanted.
    Lunch and dinner were of a really high standard and at the two gala dinner wines had been carefully chosen to accompany and compliment. You did not of course need to drink these if you did not wish to do so as there were many other alternatives. We liked the fact that water was also automatically provided. With hindsight we could of course refused some of the food offered at lunch. It was however very enjoyable!
    In the lounge waiter service was always on hand. We enjoyed some varied and delightful drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic) there as well.
    You can "never please all the people all the time". Many visitors do not want to hear the language of the country they are visiting and prefer to have information given to them in their own language. But to quote the French "C'est la vie!"
  • Veronica-Bowerman
    about 6 years ago
    Apologies Carol for incorrectly spelling your name!
  • Veronica-Bowerman
    about 6 years ago
    Hi Carole
    I totally agree that there was no problem with French being the main language on a CroisiEurope cruise as the company is French. Any British person who did not speak French would have no problem as there was always an immediate translation into English after each announcement.
    You were right I was limited with the amount of words I used and I am sorry if my blog seemed superficial.
    I also wrote a blog about Rouen one of the towns visited, but I am not sure where it is on this Silver Travel website. However I will post a copy of it up on my blog later today for you to read, if you wish to do so.
    The link is
    The meals on the Seine cruise were of a really high standard. We should of course refused some of the food offered at lunch, but it is always easy to be wise after the event!
    I felt the service generally of all the staff was excellent. In the well appointed lounge for example where we often relaxed before or after a meal we were always asked very soon after arrival if we required drinks - these could of course be alcoholic on non-alcoholic! I particularly enjoyed lemon tea, kir and also the cocktail of the day! At mealtimes we shared our table with a couple from New Zealand. The wife was a vegetarian but there was no problem or delay with her meals which she enjoyed.
    When we go abroad we also enjoy total immersion and over the years and have made an effort to build on our knowledge of various European languages. We find that this often improves the quality and fun of a holiday. I personally always want to speak a little of the language of a country I am visiting. Over the years this has been appreciated by most! Often my request is pretty basic and my accent pathetic but I least I try and have fun doing so!
    I would add that neither my husband and I were at all sure that we would enjoy the cruise. However it really exceeded our expectations, so much so that we are hoping to book a cruise on the Rhine in 2015.
    I hope these additional comments help?

  • Carol_21
    about 6 years ago
    Having enjoyed two cruises with Croisieurope , one in the south of France and the other on the Douro in Portugal, I was disappointed with Veronica's review.

    For me the fact that French is the main language is a plus ( it is after all a French company) , and to be on a boat in Europe where English is the main or only language would be a real disadvantage as I prefer some local immersion in culture and language.
    I felt her blog was rather brief and superficial and I would have enjoyed reading more detail about the actual towns visited or excursions but perhaps you needed to edit it for reasons of space.
    Personally I had no trouble with the meals and found the table d'hote menu to be of a very good standard and it would always be possible to refuse a course at lunchtime. It was also our experience that people with dietary requirements were courteously catered for.
    There is a price difference between Croisieurope and Viking and so worth deciding what is important to you, and choosing accordingly.
  • Shirley
    over 6 years ago
    As a regular traveller with Viking River Cruises I wanted to comment that their clientele is mainly British and American, and the only language for information, announcements and with guides is English. One other advantage is that there is waiter service for all meals, with self service dishes too, and there is always a cafe style lighter lunch served in the lounge.
    Veronica's comments would not entice me to try Croisi Europe instead.
  • Su
    over 6 years ago
    Your rivercruise sounded wonderful. We plan to do one soon, still saving up!
    We have done numerous ocean cruises on a variety of sized ships. It might look like the passengers are herded around, and have "no choice but to do the ships excursions" this is far from the truth! We rarely book with the cruise line, but do our research and do our own thing. We've managed to see and do so many unique things which we'd have been unable to afford had we not visited on a cruise. A recent example is the Norwegian fjords. A very expensive country, but on a cruise you can enjoy it so much cheaper. And our favourite excursion that we sourced online, " a fjord safari!" On a rib boat which took us to isolated places far away from any people. We love cruising!